At the end of Sibelius’s second symphony, the orchestra discovers one of the most inspiring themes the composer would write. A heroic, striving tune soaked in optimism lightens the darkness that has haunted the symphony so far, and sends it soaring upwards into the realms of ecstasy.
In 1902, plenty in Finland heard this as a vision of the country’s coming independence from Russia. Whatever its meaning, that ending has ensured the symphony’s enduring popularity since.
The most distinguished living Sibelius interpreter, Osmo Vänskä, leads the orchestra in this performance of Sibelius’s most-performed symphony after purifying Pärt and an extraordinary percussion concerto by another Finn, Kalevi Aho. Sieidi, in which the soloist plays no less than nine instruments, is a ritual journey in sound packed with action, diversity and some of the most extraordinary, intoxicating rhythms you will hear this side of Latin America.